Go the Distance - Kinesis Bikes
Racelight Granfondo bike


Damian Mason, spent 9 days riding 1000km around Taiwan at the end of last year and he chose the silky smooth ride of the Racelight GF_Ti bike to see him through.

THE BIKE: 54CM KUK Granfondo Ti V2 frameset, I decided to go flat bar and flat pedal [DMR Mag V12’s!] as its been a long time since I have ridden more than a few hours in one go, I didn’t want knee trouble from fixed position SPD… the ride round required 6 -7 hours a day minimum so I had comfort in mind – ISM saddle and Ergon grips.
We needed to carry everything so a rack & loaded panniers added about 10Kg.
I went with an Ultegra triple setup & a 12-30t cassette for the hills. For wheels, some ex-team Reynolds MV32s with 25c Continental gator skin tyres for puncture resistance.

TAIWAN FACTS & FIGURES: It’s in the South China Sea on the Tropic of Cancer [ its quite hot ], it’s about 400km long by about 150km wide, with a coastline of 1566 km.
Mountains in the middle up to 13,000 ft. , which extend to the East Coast , with flat[ish] plains to the West coast.
It’s where your bike was made [probably], good food, fantastic scenery and Earthquakes.

THE RIDE: It’s a tour not a race!
It’s about 950-1000km route over 9 days, first 2 days and last day on the West of the island are pretty flat, the rest is a bit harder…
I got invited on the trip by Jimmy our trading agent in Taiwan to ride round with him and two of his friends, James [Mr CNC] & Seton [Mr Kenda Bicycle tyres]. I’d seen a bit of Taiwan over the years but this was a good opportunity to see it at bicycle pace with some locals.

Damian Mason Racelight GF Ti

We Started about half way down Taiwan on the West in a town called Puxin at James’ factory ,where the first task was to fit a couple of his racks to mine & Jimmy’s bike, then the grand depart.

Racelight GF Ti bike in Taiwan 3

Quick detour to Angping Brick fort built by the Dutch in 1630 when they had a foothold in Taiwan, then South through Kaohsiung with some ‘Hot Ice’ en-route at Chaojhou. Then a bit of night riding down along the coast past Fengang to the Motel.

Racelight GF Ti bike in Taiwan 4

View East to the Pacific from the top of the 20km climb from Fengang. Over the hill from West coast to East coast and the Pacific Coast today, then up to Taitung City.

Damian and his Racelight GF Ti bike in Taiwan 5

Up the East Rift Valley Inland – great scenery, monstrous headwind all day. We crossed the Tropic of Cancer towards the end of the afternoon, but fell short of our planned destination. Checked into a Hotel in Guanfu, and had a 6.4 earthquake hit as we got into the room- bit scary! Aftershocks all night, ideal.

Racelight GF Ti bike in Taiwan 6

Up the rift valley to the Pacific Coast at Hualien. Pit stop at the Kenda /Merida distributor in Hualien City for several cups of Tea & some oil on the chain. Up the coast road No.9 which climbs up and through the cliffs, several tunnel sections along here which you share with the Omni present Taiwan gravel trucks.

Racelight GF Ti bike in Taiwan 7

Heavy rain this morning, the local truckers where we have breakfast tell us not to use the cliff road in the rain, we take their advice & get a train 30km up the coast. We stop off in Luodong to visit a museum then onto Jiaoxi in Yilan County.

Racelight GF Ti bike in Taiwan 8

View East, climbing up from Jiaoxi looking towards Turtle Island –Taiwan’s only active volcano. Over the hills West to Taipei on road No.9, long climb up a hairpin road through tropical forest – nice. Met some Makak monkeys on the road and some cycle tourists from Seattle.

Racelight GF Ti bike in Taiwan 9

Steady ride West to the coast today quite hilly but nothing too hard today. Quite a lot of stopping and eating today!

Racelight GF Ti bike in Taiwan 10

Back down the coast into the familiar Bicycle industry area of DaChia & a quick stop at the Giant factory , then South through Taichung port area then over the River to Chunghua and down to our starting point in Puxin.

Loaded with a good selection & kept us going with some classics…of the 70’s and 80’s & a bit of Adele. Actually pretty good sound- I need to get me one of these!

Cycling in Taiwan: Cycling is well catered for, with a 7/ 11 never too far away they have track pumps available for cyclists, toilets and a shop full of everything/anything you need and they are always open even following an earthquake with their stock all over the floor & the ceiling hanging down we observed! In more rural areas the local Police stations also have track pumps and water available for cyclists.

The roads are very well maintained and smooth in general, there is typically a separate lane marked for scooters / cyclists in Urban and rural areas so you’re not mixing it with heavy traffic for the most part. There is plenty of good cheap local food available everywhere, with all sorts of local delicacies on offer.

The weather is best in October/November [mid 20’s degrees C] if you are not used to heat / humidity – us Northern European types. It is in the Tropics so it is likely you will encounter some rain but these months are typically low rainfall for Taiwan. Yilan County which we cycled through on Day 6/7 has 3000mm of rainfall per year over 3 times that of the UK by the way.

I really enjoyed the trip, nice to literally be along for the ride. Good company, great scenery, excellent bike and not as hard as I feared, don’t forget the Sudocrem though!

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